Lateral epicondylitis (LE) is a relatively common pathology capable of producing chronic debilitation in a variety of patients. A newer treatment for orthopedic conditions is platelet-rich plasma (PrP) local injection. Focused Clinical Question: Is PrP a more appropriate injection therapy for LE than other common injections such as corticosteroid or whole blood? Summary of Key Findings: Four studies were included: 1 randomized controlled trial (RCT), 2 double-blind RCTs, and 1 cohort study. Two studies involved comparisons of PrP injection to corticosteroid injection. One of the studies involved a 2-y follow-up while another involved a 1-y follow-up. Another study involved the comparison of PrP injection with whole-blood injection with a 6-mo follow-up. The final study included a PrP-injection group and control group. The 2 studies involving PrP vs corticosteroid injections with 2-y and 1-y follow-ups both favored PrP over corticosteroid injection in terms of pain reduction and function increases. The third study favored PrP injections over whole-blood injections at 6 mo regarding pain reduction. All studies demonstrated significant improvements with PrP over comparison injections or no injection. Clinical Bottom Line: PrP injections provide more favorable pain and function outcomes than whole blood and corticosteroid injections for 1-2 y after injection.
STRENGTH OF RECOMMENDATION:
Consistent findings from RCTs suggest level 1b evidence in support of PrP injection as a treatment for LE.